WILLIAMSON - With several members of the public in attendance, Mingo County Commissioners John Mark Hubbard and Greg “Hootie” Smith announced the indefinite suspension of Emergency Services and Homeland Security Director Jerrod Fletcher without pay at its regularly scheduled meeting.
Fletcher has served in this position since being appointed in July of 2007 at a rate of approximately $25,000, and was currently making an annual salary of $49,400 for serving as the leader of both positions.
The residents of the county have been up in arms after reading the 18-page indictment of Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury that identified Fletcher as an accomplice of the judge in a scheme to frame the husband (Robert Woodruff) of the judge's secretary (Kim Woodruff) for a crime that he did not commit. In a recent editorial, the Williamson Daily News opined that all public officials named in the indictment should resign.
The commissioners told the public and the media who attended the open meeting that they wanted to review all facts surrounding the federal case and see what the outcome may be before making a final decision on Fletcher's employment status with the county.
“There has been a great concern over the office of Emergency Services and our 911 office, and the public's perception of these positions and their trust in the county itself has been damaged,” stated Commissioner Smith. “With that in mind, we have agreed to indefinitely suspend Jerrod Fletcher without pay.”
Scotty Manns, who resides in the Lenore area, asked to speak and told the commissioners he commended them for the decision to suspend Fletcher and added that he thinks all the officers in the county as well as those employed through the municipalities should be drug tested.
“There's a lot that goes on out there that you all may not know about but I can assure you that there's problems with a few of these guys,” remarked Manns.
“I do not have a problem with any agency or office being drug tested,” replied Smith. “As a matter of fact, I think it's a good idea and I will be the first to step forward and be tested. We all should be held accountable.”
Commissioner Hubbard also added that the county vehicle that had been utilized by Fletcher, as well as other items that he possessed that were purchased by the county has been turned over to the county commission.
Lorraine Vance, who has been employed with the Mingo 911 office for about 20 years and has served as assistant director was named as the interim Emergency Services Director and Doug Goolsby, who was employed as a paramedic with the county and with STAT Ambulance and is also an EMS instructor, was named as the interim Homeland Security Director.
After the conclusion of the commission meeting, both Hubbard and Smith spoke with the media and declared their innocence and said they were not targets of any federal investigation and had served responsibly and truthfully in their elected positions.
“We all need to pray for our county,” said Glen Rutledge, the County Commission Attorney. “We need to ban together and pray during these difficult and truing times and do everything we can to heal these wounds and build a better tomorrow.”